ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' late-season struggles continued on a hot Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park, but Adrian Beltre achieved another significant milestone in an 9-3 loss to the Rays.Beltre hit his 475th career home run when he took Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough deep in the fourth inning. That tied
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' late-season struggles continued on a hot Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park, but Adrian Beltre achieved another significant milestone in an 9-3 loss to the Rays.
Beltre hit his 475th career home run when he took Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough deep in the fourth inning. That tied him with Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 30th place all-time in Major League history. Next up are Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff with 493.
"Anytime you mention those guys' names, you have accomplished something," Beltre said. "I am proud of what I have done. It is nice to be able accomplish something that for me, down the road, will be a little more special."
• MLB all-time home run leaders
Manager Jeff Banister was good friends with Stargell during his many years working in the Pirates' organization, and he has a great appreciation for what Beltre is accomplishing.
"Pretty magical," Banister said. "I know the names, but when you flash them up on the board, you see the names and see his name at the top of the list in certain categories … it's incredible. It's magical what he does. If you are not tuned in and not watching, shame on you. You need to tune in. I don't know what's going to happen next year, but nothing short of incredible."
Nobody knows what will happen next year, because Beltre has not yet announced if he is coming back for 2019. If this is it for him, Beltre is trying to finish strong. He finished 2-for-4 with a double and the home run on Wednesday, and he is now hitting .283 with six home runs, nine RBIs and a .683 slugging percentage over 16 games in September.
"I've had some good days but nothing consistent," Beltre said. "I felt I was going to finish better than I have. Obviously, we have another 10-11 games, hopefully I can do better. I have a lot more work to do. Season is not over."
There are plenty more Hall of Famers to pass in multiple categories. For example, Beltre now has 1,698 RBIs, one short of Jim Thome for 23rd all-time.
Banister will give him every opportunity, even though the Rangers are starting to mix young players into the lineup as the season comes to an end. Carlos Perez started at catcher on Wednesday and Carlos Tocci was in center field for the first time since Aug. 31. That put Delino DeShields and Robinson Chirinos on the bench. Texas was also without Joey Gallo for the third straight game with a bruised pinky toe on his right foot.
"Similar to what we have been doing -- try to get some of the younger guys in the lineup and continue to find at-bats for those guys," Banister said. "I would expect we would keep Adrian in as much as we possibly can. There are some other guys that need a blow. I still believe, thinking about the vision of moving forward, I think every at-bat, every pitch, every play for some of these young guys are going to be valuable going forward for this team next year. Every experience is valuable experience."
Beltre said an altered lineup and makeshift pitching staff are still no excuse.
"These guys understand even though we are in a rebuilding mode, we can still compete with these teams," Beltre said. "Our job is to come in here and believe we can win every ballgame. It's not going to happen, but even though we are not built to win right now, it's not OK to come in here and think we are going to lose."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bartolo Colon took over for the Rangers in the eighth and pitched 1 2/3 innings in relief. It was his first appearance since Sept. 5. The last batter he faced was Carlos Gomez, and Colon retired him on a line drive to right with Nomar Mazara making a nice running catch.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus made a terrific play to save a run in the seventh inning, going into the left-side hole to snag Nick Ciuffo's grounder, then leaping in the air and throwing to first for the out.
HE SAID IT
"Not as good of command with the breaking ball. Had a little bit of erratic command with his fastball, probably not as sharp." -- Banister on Rangers starter Yohander Mendez, who allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 3 2/3 innings
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Willie Calhoun, batting with runners at the corners and two outs in the sixth, lined a hit down the right-field line to drive in a run. Calhoun tried to make it a double and was called safe at second base ahead Gomez's throw. But the Rays challenged the call and it was overturned after a review.
Right-handed reliever Connor Sadzeck (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will open ahead of Ariel Jurado (3-5, 7.01) for the Rangers against the Mariners at 7:05 p.m. CT on Friday in the first of a three-game series at Globe Life Park. Sadzeck is expected to go 1-2 innings before Jurado takes over. Jurado's last three appearances have been as a reliever, coming in after an "opener." He was 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in those three games, and he is 2-4 with a 6.69 ERA in seven starts. Righty Erasmo Ramirez (2-3, 5.65) is scheduled to pitch for the Mariners. Texas is 6-6 against Seattle this season, and will face the club in seven of its final 11 games.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.